JUNEAU – The attorney for a 42-year-old Beaver Dam man, who is accused of carrying a pipe bomb in his vehicle, asked the court to add a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity in his case during a motion hearing Wednesday.
Chad Leitner, who is being housed in the Dodge County Jail, faces felony charges of possession of improvised explosives and two felony counts of bail jumping. He could face up to 18 years in prison if convicted of all three charges.
Leitner’s attorney Katherine Findley asked for the change in plea to not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Kristine Snow accepted the pleas and ordered an examination for Leitner.
Leitner had previously entered a not guilty plea April 4.
According to the criminal complaint, a Beaver Dam Police Officer responded to a suspicious person complaint in the 100 block of Riverview Drive on Feb. 27 at 2:45 p.m. A Nissan Maxima had been driving past the area for 20 minutes and made several stops in the block. The vehicle had left the block and pulled into a driveway on Kelly Circle.
While police were speaking to Leitner, they saw the backpack in his vehicle and asked to look in it. According to the criminal complaint, the officer opened the bag and found a silver pipe with a green fuse protruding from the center of the pipe and two end caps on it. The officer observed a small green Coleman propane cylinder wrapped in duct tape and multiple screws and bolts.
Leitner was taken into custody at gunpoint and the Dane County Bomb Squad was called in. According to the criminal complaint, Leitner said he was having mental health issues, but he had the bomb for about a year after getting it from a neighbor when he lived in Fond du Lac. The neighbor had used them to blow stumps out of the ground on farms. Leitner had believed that pipe bombs were legal to possess.
The bomb had been kept in a safe, but Leitner said he removed it a couple of months ago and put it in the backpack.
A telephone scheduling conference is scheduled on June 22.